alastair cook and virat kohli
Alastair Cook retires as England’s most prolific Test batsman (Getty Images)

India captain Virat Kohli has paid rich tributes to the retiring Alastair Cook who signed off his Test career with a century in his final innings. In his farewell Test, England recorded a 118-run win on the final day of the fifth and final Test at The Oval to seal 4-1 series triumph.

Cook has been receiving praises from all corners since announcing retirement last week. He struggled during the first four Tests of the series before scoring 71 and 147 in his last two innings in a fairytale climax.

During those two knocks, Cook was a picture of focus and determination as he has been throughout his international career that made him the all-time leading run-getter for England.

Kohli called Cook as a great ambassador of the game, praising his passion for play for the country. “He’s a great example for everyone to love Test cricket so much, and has so much determination and passion to play for the country,” Kohli said. “He’s been a great ambassador for the game,” Kohli said in the post-match press conference. I certainly have a lot of respect for him because he’s one guy who has not gone out of line ever. Doesn’t say a word to anyone in a negative manner, just carries on with his work and he’s very sure about his work as well. I wish him well.”

Kohli also revealed he asked Cook whether he wanted to reconsider his decision on retirement following his century. However, the 32-year-old was firm about it. “I asked him on the field are you having second thoughts that now you got 140 and he said ‘Not at all’. He felt relieved more than anything else. You could see he was enjoying his batting all over again,” he said.

Wishing him best for his future endeavours, Kohli singled out the England opener’s success in bowling-friendly England conditions. “I wish him well for whatever he decides to do now and congratulate him on a amazing career as an opener playing in these conditions.”

“We understand how difficult batting can be, even if you play regularly [in England], it still can be tough. But the fact that he scored so many runs all over the world shows the determination he’s always had to be able to play 160 Test matches and have the longest run of not missing a Test.”